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Lawrence Board of Education Profile: Gregory Johnson

LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ — Attorney Gregory G. Johnson has been working closely with various schools across the state for years. A resident of Lawrence township, Johnson said his family’s experience with the school district made him aware of the racial disparity that exists. He is now running for a seat in the Lawrence Board of Education to represent make all students feel welcome and improve their experience in the school district.

Read below to learn more about Johnson and his platform for the upcoming elections in Lawrence.

Name – Gregory G. Johnson

Age (as of Election Day) – 59

Position Sought – Lawrence Board of Education

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

My wife is an Administrator with state government My son works for Mercer County government

Education –

Trenton Central High School, Diploma

Mercer County College, AA

Florida State University, BA

Rutgers Camden Law School, JD

Occupation –

Real Estate Attorney

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office –

Lawrence Township Committeeperson, District 12

Campaign website –

Gregory Johnson for Lawrence Board of Education on Facebook

Why are you seeking elective office?

As a practicing attorney and former School Board attorney, I offer unique skills, experience and knowledge to the Lawrence Township Board of Education. During my professional career, I have represented both urban and suburban school districts throughout the state of New Jersey. Specifically, in the 1980’s I worked as an attorney for the Trenton Board of Education, and later, became the General Counsel for the Paterson Schools, where I worked closely with the New Jersey Department of Education on all legal matters, including central office reorganizations, instructional reforms and policy and student disciplinary matters. I routinely advised superintendents and senior managers on school policies, labor and employment matters, disciplinary matters and litigation cases. I have also represented parents of disabled students seeking educational programs and services provided under federal and state education laws. Finally, as a Black man, I offer the voice of a demographic that this current Board does not have and desperately needs.

The single most pressing issue facing our school district is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.

COVID-19 pandemic. Protecting our students, families and staff is our first priority. I firmly believe that the Governor of New Jersey has done an excellent job providing guidelines for re-opening our public schools and preparing for this 2020-2021 school year. As the Lawrence Township Public Schools prudently began this school year with virtual learning, I support the Superintendent and Board of Education in making sure that we safely reopen our school district. This pandemic has created significant issues for all our families. This pandemic negatively impacted special needs and minority students who benefit the most from in school instruction. If elected, I will work hard to make sure that the schools offer extended year or supplemental instruction for special needs students and minority students, other affected students. This will help make-up lost instructional time.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

As a practicing attorney and former school board attorney, I offer unique skills, experience and knowledge to the Lawrence Township Board of Education. During my professional career, I have represented both urban and suburban school districts throughout the state of New Jersey.

If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency).

I believe the Board of Education must do a better job making all students feel welcomed and valued. Reading the stories of Black families, students, and teachers being marginalized, funneled into remedial education programs and away from honors, gifted and talented and advanced placement, lack of racial diversity of staff and the over-policing of Black students was sad, disheartening, and a painful reminder of my own family’s experience in the Lawrence Township Public Schools. This realization became apparent that I could no longer sit on the sidelines but had to offer my unique set of skills and experiences as a former school board attorney and practicing attorney to my community.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.

The first priorities I would like to address is improving academic performance of Black students and reducing suspensions by starting a mentoring program to work with students. Lawrence Township is home to very successful residents and alumni who could be tremendously helpful as we address these enduring issues.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

In June 2003, I was appointed General Counsel by the Superintendent of the Paterson Public Schools. At the time, Paterson had a student population of approximately 26,000 students, and several thousand employees. I had previously served as the outside counsel for Paterson for over 10 years. I had a very good record of advising and defending the district in numerous cases.

The best advice ever shared with me was:

I had fantastic teachers when I attend Junior No. 3 and Trenton Central High School. They encouraged me to work hard so I could attend college. I’m glad I followed their advice. My career as an attorney has been rewarding and l am grateful for all the clients I’ve helped over the years.

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

I am a person of faith who believes we must do more help those less fortunate in our community. I have served as a mentor in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program, and as a Trustee on the Lawrence Neighborhood Center Board. In addition, coached soccer and basketball teams in the recreational programs. The kids and parents were great.

In anticipation of the upcoming election, Patch asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns. We will be publishing candidate profiles as election day draws near.

Have a correction or news tip? Email sarah.salvadore@patch.com

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This article originally appeared on the Lawrenceville Patch

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